Notwithstanding his penchant for simplicity, Toledo Bend guide Jerry Thompson has given much thought to certain aspects of his terminal tackle and rigging.

Here’s a handful of his preferences:


Cork color — Choices range from the classic red/white to bright neons, but Thompson bases his selection more on ease of operation than aesthetics.

“The only difference cork color can make is if you’re casting,” he said. “I may have four people on the boat, and I try to have a different color for each person. Besides that I don’t think it makes much difference. I’ve never seen it where a guy on the boat with a red cork would catch any more than everybody else.

“I just try to keep them different so everybody knows which cork is theirs.”

Hooks — Thompson said he won’t go any bigger than a No. 2 light-wire hook for minnow baiting. That’s plenty of metal to grab even slab crappie.

Jig style — A round head, Thompson said, facilitates a vertical presentation. The angled heads common to trolling or casting applications are less effective for slip-cork use, he said.

Plastic body — Although he’s partial to hair jigs, Thompson said he likes a slender, streamlined shape when he goes with plastic jig bodies.

“I like a little, straight tail,” he said. “When you’re fishing under a cork, you’re not going to get any action out of a cork, so there’s no reason to have (a curly tail). And when I’m using a jig, I want it to lay straight.

“I want my (jig) hook to be perpendicular to my line, and if you use any kind of curl tail it will tend to pull it down.”

Tie it on — For proper jig posture, Thompson suggested either a loop knot, which allows the jig to dangle freely, or a closed knot cinched to the hook side of the eye.

Of the proper cork-and-jig look, Thompson said: “Standing straight up and down is not natural, so you have to make sure it lays straight.”